what is a bench warrant | Carls Bail Bonds

lindsay bail bonds

The Difference Between Bench Warrants and Arrest Warrants

By | Bail Bonds in Tulare

Many people don’t realize that bench warrants and arrest warrants are two different things. While both have the same end result, you get arrested, they’re handled in two very different ways.

What is an Arrest Warrant

Before an arrest warrant can be issued, a judge has to sign off on the document. This happens when a new crime has taken place and the police present the judge with enough evidence that you could have been involved. The arrest warrant doesn’t mean that you’re guilty, it simply means that a judge agrees that the police have a legal right to require you to speak to them about the case.

Something that some people don’t realize is if you’re arrested without an arrest warrant that summarizes the crime you’re suspected of or if there is insufficient probable cause to justify the arrest warrant. One of the things a good defense attorney looks at is the probable cause connected to the search warrant. If there wasn’t sufficient evidence, it’s possible they’ll be able to get the arrest warrant dismissed so you can go home.

What is a Bench Warrant?

A bench warrant is another warrant that gives law enforcement the right to arrest you but it’s not the same thing as an arrest warrant. Bench warrants are issued when you do something like fail to appear in court. Most police officers don’t actively go after people who have a bench warrant sworn out against them. A vast majority of people who have bench warrants issued for them are caught during traffic violations.

It’s not a bad idea to contact a criminal defense lawyer and ask for their help with the bench warrant. It’s likely that they will guide you through the process of contacting the court house and rescheduling.

If you suspect that a bench warrant has been issued for you, it’s in your best interest to be proactive about the situation. Rather than spending all of your time looking over your shoulder or stressing that each time you go a few miles over the speed limit you’ll be arrested, you should resolve yourself to settle the matter once and for all.

When dealing with an outstanding warrant, you seek out the services of a good defense attorney. Not only will they be able to confirm if there an outstanding warrant has been issued for you, but they will also help you through the initial booking process, help you decide how to handle bail, and guide you through the hearing.

You won’t believe how much better you feel once you’ve resolved all the legal issues surrounding an outstanding warrant and are able to resume your life without having to worry about being arrested.


What is a Bench Warrant?

By | Bail Bond in Fresno, Bail Bonds in Bakersfield, Bail Bonds in Los Angeles, Bail Bonds in Tulare, Bail Bonds In Visalia, Carls Bail Bonds, Los Angeles Bail Bonds

California has three different types of warrants. Each one serves a different purpose. Search warrants and arrest warrants are the ones that most people are familiar with, mostly because they play huge roles in various procedural shows. The third type of warrant is called a bench warrant.

The majority of the warrants currently active in California are bench warrants.

While a bench warrant means you can be arrested if the police find you, they aren’t the same as an arrest warrant. An arrest warrant typically means you’re suspected of committing a crime or wanted for questioning in regard to a crime.

When Is a Bench Warrant Issued?

Bench warrants are typically issued because you failed to do something you were supposed to take care of. Common reasons bench warrants are sworn out include:

  • You failed to report to a court date (a bench warrant can be issued even if you were supposed to be on the jury or serve as a witness)
  • Failed to pay a court fine/traffic ticket
  • Fell behind on court-ordered child support
  • Failed to follow an order that demanded you vacate a property
  • Broke the terms of your probation
  • Etc.

Once a bench warrant has been sworn out for you, the police can choose to go to the last address they have on file for you. If you’re home, they can arrest you.

While there are instances where the police will show up at a person’s front door with a bench warrant in hand, a surprising number of bench warrant arrests happen because of traffic stops. When the police run a background check on the driver, information about the bench warrant pops up, and the police take the driver directly to jail.

It’s important to note that there’s no expiration date on bench warrants. They remain in effect until the person named on the warrant is arrested or they die.

In the long run, it’s in your best interest to deal with the bench warrant and the legal matter it involves on your time rather than waiting until you get arrested. The first step is finding out if a bench warrant has been issued for you.

Do You Have a Bench Warrant?

Different ways to learn if you’ve been named on a bench warrant include:

Checking the sheriff’s or court’s website in the county where you think the warrant would have been issued:

  • Checking the Superior Court of California’s website
  • Running a criminal background check on yourself
  • Using the California Arrests Website

If a bench warrant has been sworn out for you, it’s in your best interest to contact a good lawyer and have them guide you through the process of dealing with the legal matter that led to the issuing of the bench warrant.